Vital reading for anyone interested in roots forms that have traditional and commercial components by veteran blues journalist Howard Reich in Tuesday’s Chicago Tribune.
Reich is moved by the passing of some of the last of the bluesmen who grew up in the Delta before World War II. Wither the music when none of the practitioners come from the homeland? Don’t bluegrass, old-time, and Celtic face this too?
Reich writes: “Ever since notes could be etched on paper, no beloved music has gone completely silent, especially since recorded technology emerged in the late 19th century. But some genres have become so peripheral to American lives as to be reduced to historical footnotes. Studied by academics, performed by die-hards and applauded by connoisseurs, they’re forgotten by nearly everyone else. This is where Chicago blues is headed…. Nearly banished from radio and TV, practically absent from the popular press and rarely heard in schools, real Chicago blues must be sought out, and only the most intrepid listeners find it.”